The FDA does not have jurisdiction over the advertisements relative to vitamin supplements, thus this fell under the area of the FTC and it sat around for a while, even with cancer researchers writing to the FTC. The attorneys are on it now and according to this article the advertising worked as sales grew; however at the cost perhaps of a naive society.
You just can’t believe all the advertising you see and hear today and this is a classic case. With current economic conditions sales and marketing has soared to almost intolerable levels at times and there needs to be some corporate responsibility to adhere to truth in advertising. BD
A class action lawsuit against Bayer (BAY) over its alleged false claims about One A Day Men’s Multivitamins will go to trial, a federal judge has ruled. The case is one in an avalanche of litigation over Bayer’s outlandish advertising for the product. The suits mostly hang Bayer with its own rope: The company ran radio and TV ads claiming One A Day could prevent prostate cancer.
While Bayer may whittle down the litigation on legal technicalities, the facts are fairly clear. Vitamins don’t prevent prostate cancer or help you lose weight (another Bayer claim) and yet the company has spent years telling people the opposite. Bayer’s lies worked: The brand’s sales rose 16.1 percent to €36 million in Q1 2010. Now all that revenue is under threat — it could easily be eaten by lawyers fees and damages awards.
According to a South Carolina class action complaint, Bayer’s ads said this:
Packaging: Did you know that prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and that emerging research suggests selenium may reduce the risk of prostate cancer?
Radio: Prostate cancer. It’s an important subject. Did you know that there are more new cases of prostate cancer each year than any other cancer? And here’s something else you should know. Now, there’s something that you can do that may help reduce your risk. Along with your regular doctor checkups, switch to One A Day men’s. A complete multivitamin plus selenium, which emerging research suggests may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
TV: Did you know one in three men will face prostate issues? One in three, really? That’s why One A Day Men’s is a complete multivitamin with selenium which emerging research suggests can help prostate health.
The FTC has no excuses for not acting against Bayer since then. On June 18, 2009, nine prominent cancer researchers wrote to the agency, describing their research on selenium, to ask that it “halt these ads as soon as possible.”